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Pat Collins Carrot Moisturiser All The Way From Australia

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Probiotics & Superfoods On The Rise in The UK

Team V+A with the team from Turmericandhoney.com

Team V+A with the team from Turmericandhoney.com

When it comes to the nutrition and wellbeing industry, probiotics and superfoods are most certainly on everyone’s lips!  Read more

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Time To Eat Fermented: Today’s 8 Healthiest Fermented Foods

Depending on where you usually hang out, you may or may not have heard a lot of buzz around fermented foods lately. Fermented foods and their influence on your microbiome/beneficial bacteria has been getting a lot of traction around the health and food industries of late, and for a good reason. We’re learning more every day about the billions and billions of bacteria that live on and inside us. Currently we only know a teeny tiny amount about how all the different types and strains of bacteria work together to help our bodies function correctly but we do know that what we eat impacts on them significantly.

Our gut is like a second brain; You may not realise but when you have bloating, tummy pain, infections, or any other digestive issues, it can really impact on your wellness and mood in general. Think about it! There are over 100 million neurons (the same type of cells our brains are made of) in our gut and the bacteria that makes up our microbiome has a big influence on our “second brain” and how it functions. So, what can you do to give your microbiome the best chance? Eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods. Try new and different things too, as the bacteria love variety. Fermented foods in particular are great for those friendly types.  Minimise refined, processed, high sugar foods whenever possible, as these are what the not-so-friendly bacteria and yeasts thrive on.

V+A Top 8 Fermented Foods

Here’s our list of 8 great fermented foods and drinks for you to try. They may sound funny at first but they’re definitely worth giving a go, even just for your microbiome’s sake! Who knows, you might even find a new favourite food!

Miso

Fermented Foods Clearspring Organic Miso PaceThis is a unpastirised paste made from fermented soy beans. Commonly made into a soup. You may have seen miso soup on the menu in your favourite Japanese restaurant.
We use this great Clearspring organic brown rice Miso pace which you can order directly from their website or planetorganic.com or at your local Waitrose.

Tempeh

Also made from fermented soy beans but this time formed into a block. It has a firm texture and earthy, sweet taste. You can get yours from Planet Organic or Ocado.

Sauerkraut

Fermented Foods Biona Organic Sauerkraut

A traditional German food made from fermenting cabbage. With a salty, rich flavour it’s great as a little something extra on top of your burger (veggie or otherwise), salads, and anything you like really!
Also, it’s easy to make it at home or find some like our favourite brand for sauerkraut, Biona Organic, available in most of your local health stores in the UK like As Nature Intended.

Kimchi

This Korean side dish is similar to sauerkraut, made up of fermented vegetables, most commonly cabbage. Kimchi packs a bit of a punch as it is normally seasoned with chilli, ginger and garlic. Yummers!

Natto

Another in the list made of soy beans, this time fermented with a particular type of bacteria. Natto is a traditional Japanese food with a strong flavour and slimy texture. An acquired taste? Almost certainly. You can purchase Natto from most of your Asian supermarkets.

 


You may also like to read about Probiotics and Superfoods


 

Kefir

This drink is made from fermenting milk using “kefir grains”, with its origins in the Caucasus mountains. Kefir grains are made up of certain types of bacteria and yeasts. With a sour taste, kefir may take a little bit of getting used to but is a great way to diversify the drinks you consume. Kefir can also be made using coconut water, great for vegans! Nowadays, you can probably find some fresh organic kefir at your local weekend farmers market or in most Sainsbury’s. Turmeric & Honey have even pushed it further with their brand new supplement Kefir Plus made in a soluble powder.

Kombucha

Fermented Foods Jarr Raw KombuchaA refreshing, lightly fizzy drink made from fermenting black or green tea using a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). You can find kombucha in numerous flavours from ginger to blueberry to natural.
Make sure when you buy a bottle, there are still “floaty” bits in the bottom! This is known as the “Mother” and is where all the enzymes and good stuff is so drink up!

Yoghurt

Probably the most commonly consumed fermented food, probiotic yoghurt is available virtually anywhere. Traditionally, yoghurt is made from cow, sheep or goat milk. Choosing a natural yoghurt, preferably one that is “pot set”, i.e. fermented in the pot you buy, is key. Go for the ones without the unnecessary added sugar. This means less meddling with from the manufacturer and  potential for added ingredients you don’t need. And always choose full fat! The fat content provides some protection for the good bacteria to make it through the harsh acidic climate of your stomach. For those folks who are avoiding or don’t tolerate dairy, there are still options for you too. Alpro make a range of soy-based probiotic yoghurts. Other options include coconut-based probiotic yoghurts from Koko Dairy-Free, The Coconut Collaborative and Coyo. Nush has a range of almond and cashew milk probiotic yoghurts as well.

 

As always we love to hear what you think

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5 Must Do’s When Joining The Gym To Keep Motivated

Nowadays there is a wide variety of options for you to stay active and exercise. Are you left wondering whether joining a gym is cost effective and worth the money? Well, I can easily say yes! The gym remains an easy option for you to exercise and become part of a community. I decided to join again because the UK winter was too cold to run and workout outdoors. Most equipments and facilities also only tend to be available in a gym. Furthermore, exercising is no longer optional for me, now that I’m close to my mid thirties. 😌

The first gym I registered at in my early twenties was a Virgin Active in Edinburgh. Amazing facilities with a huge gym floor, latest equipment, great pool and plenty more. It was all so good that I felt overwhelmed and quit a month later. I did keep paying my membership for a year though, hoping I would go back by some sort of miracle.
I then moved to London and joined a local gym in Fulham. At that time I had a programme written by one of the personal trainers there and I stuck to it for a few months.

Things got serious when I ended up moving to Sydney in Australia. Everyone was twice my size and I felt I needed to get back into shape. I started training with a gym buddy for a few months and then took a personal trainer. Both were great motivators and helped me get into shape.
Looking back to the beginning of this journey almost 15 years later, I can see why I felt demotivated so many times and how I finally found my own pace to keep active.

My 5 Must Do’s When Joining The Gym To Keep Motivated

These five tips would have helped me keep motivated every time I joined a gym:

Location, location, location

When you’re new and you want exercising to be an essential part of your wellbeing, make it as easy and practical as possible. The location is very important as you want it to be easily accessible, and not become an excuse not to go or keep motivated. Make sure that the opening hours match your lifestyle. Are you really going to go if it’s out of your way and doesn’t suit your availability? If you’re a frequent traveller, look for a gym that you can access in several cities or countries.

Don’t skip the gym induction and your free workout programme

I find this stage crucial in joining a gym. Make time for the in-house gym induction, you may meet a good PT or find a workout buddy. Highly motivating, you’ll gain the knowledge you need about the equipment and  will understand what’s available to you. Everytime I joined a gym in the past I focused on the machines and weights, yet there is so much more than that. From your stretching zone to the classes available to you, make time to find out what else is on offer. Having a PT write you a programme may also be your best chance to ask questions and find out what’s best for you.

Join a gym that shares the same goal(s) as you

The gym I currently go to in London is by far the best option for me. Nuffield Health is a bit more than just a gym. Like most gyms they provide you with a Personal Training session/taster and a written program for free. As part of your membership with Nuffield you also get a Health assessment which you can repeat every 3 months. This gives you a great idea of where you’re at, health and fitness-wise. It also includes your BMI and blood pressure, your aerobic fitness level, all the way through to fasting blood glucose and total cholesterol! It’s pretty extensive and costs nothing extra, except an hour of your time.
If you have a clear goal for exercising, it’s paramount to equip yourself with the right tools to do so.

Have a go-to activity at the gym that works for you when unmotivated

Gym: Swimming as part of staying active

My go-to at the gym has always been swimming. You can go swim with a friend or you can go by yourself and it’s a great way to clear your head and feel relaxed. Swimming is also a remarkable way to give your full body a workout. On my Facebook feed recently, a post from Vogue Hommes came up about Fabio Mancini and how swimming and running was all he needed to keep in shape. Not that I compare myself to Fabio, but it’s reassuring to think that 2 of the exercises I tend to enjoy the most can keep other people in shape too. For you it may be the cardio machines, or bikes, or lifting heavy stuff!

Find a gym buddy or work with a Personal Trainer

I can remember a couple of instances where training with someone has helped me a great deal. I used to feel very awkward at the gym and having a gym buddy helped me get comfortable. It also made me confident using the equipment on my own and attend classes and so forth. The last PT I had in Sydney would always push me, mention improvements and my strength among other things. In life it’s the little things that make a difference and those encouragements really helped me work harder. A personal trainer is a good option to get familiar in a gym and then start training on your own. The money I spent on a PT was worth every penny.

Nowadays I can’t complain as Daen helps me keep in shape with spin classes, running and HIIT.

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Citrus Roasted Chicken: A Fresh & Zesty Recipe For Your Summer Nights

Add that citrus taste and freshness to your summer nights

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How to Make Sweet Potato Chips At Home

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Sweet potato is one of our must have vegetables and ingredients as part of our food essentials. The great thing about sweet potato is that they contain large amounts of vitamin A in the form of antioxidant beta-carotene and are quite high in fibre. You can have them in a potato mash with your fish, or steamed with your salad and as chunky chips when you’re feeling naughty or simply wanting to mix it up. The beauty of sweet potatoes is the variety of ways you can cook them.

Baking your sweet potato chips will take you just over 30 minutes but your time looking after them is probably about 10-15 minutes maximum. Below is how we prepare and cook our sweet potato chips to make them as crunchy and nutritious as possible.

How to make homemade sweet potato chips

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Get those crunchy chips tasty and crunchy

What you'll need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes 🍠 (the bigger the better if you like your chips long and crunchy).
  • Organic extra virgin olive oil.
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper.
  • Oven and baking tray.

What to do:

  • Rinse the sweet potatoes under clear running water. We tend to keep the skin to add that extra texture and fibre, however, you can peel them if preferred.
  • Cut each sweet potato in half lengthways and then unto chips.
  • Place them in a large bowl of cold water and let them soak for about 30 minutes. This process will help the chips get crunchier.
  • In the meantime, prepare a ramequin or small bowl with olive oil, a little bit of sea salt and black pepper in it and mix together.
  • Preheat your oven to 200ºC and have your baking tray ready.
  • After 30 minutes, place the sweet potatoes on a tea towel or kitchen towel to dry them.
  • Some use a brush, we just use our fingers and coat the chips in the oil.
  • Place each sweet potato chip on the baking tray.
  • Place in the oven and cook for about 15 mins, open the oven and turn the chips around to make sure they cook properly. Cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Ta-dah!

Notes:

  • You can add mixed herbs on them when serving.
  • Mix some mayonnaise and a little bit of paprika if you’re looking for a tasty dipping sauce.

Enjoy!

As always, we love to hear what you think. Please leave a comment, ideas and share the love as there is plenty here!

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A "Father And Son" Chat About Life, Nutrition And A Journey Through Cancer #WhatGetsYouOutOfBed

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Homemade Dairy-Free Banana & Raspberry Ice Cream: The Perfect Recipe for Summer!

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I wish I had been told about banana ice cream way earlier! Isn’t it fantastic when you’re able to make something out of just a couple of ingredients only?! And without having to add anything else!? I remember when I studied hospitality & catering in France, we learnt how to make ice cream as part of our patisserie practical classes. First of all, The process seemed tedious rather than fun. And it also required way too many ingredients, a huge ice cream machine, a special freezer and a great deal of refined sugar!

Nowadays with gluten and dairy intolerance, diabetes on the rise in the UK, and the proven dangers of processed foods, we’ve come to realise that we can easily make something simple and tasty at home. Similar to the 2 ingredient pancakes recipe, which, by the way, we love making for breakfast or dessert way too much, this two ingredient recipe won’t disappoint and is great to share with your loved ones.

This month we prepare for those summer nights fast approaching! This easy two ingredient ice cream recipe made with one of our favourites fruits, banana. Organic and locally sourced, provided by from Abel & Cole. We add a few raspberries to give it an extra pinch. But either/or, it’s great and like our apple compote recipe made of one ingredient, this can be eaten by itself or served with a dessert of your choice!

Here is the easiest way to make homemade ice-cream with 1 ingredient as a base and add a couple more if you’re feeling creative!

Homemade Banana & Raspberry Ice Cream (Dairy and Refined-Sugar Free)

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Fruit based, this homemade ice-cream is great by itself or to eat with a dessert.

What you'll need:

  • 2 ripe bananas.
  • 6 raspberries.
  • A blender/food processor.

What to do:

  • First, break a couple of bananas into bite-sized pieces and place in the freezer in a container, preferably at least a couple of hours before you need the ice cream.
  • Then, take them out of the freezer 2 hours later (at least) or once frozen.
  • Place the banana slices in the blender/food processor and blitz.
  • Keep blitzing until the bananas have the consistency of soft serve. You may need to scrape the sides down periodically.
  • Also, if adding raspberries, add them in towards the end of the blitzing phase.

Notes:

  • Switch the raspberries for 1/2tsp of cinnamon for a different taste
  • Most importantly, be creative with your additional ingredients. Have fun experimenting!

Enjoy!

As always, we love to hear what you think. Please leave a comment, ideas and share the love as there is plenty here!

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Maintaining Gut Health On The Road in South America

Hello, I’m Sarah Jayne, an enthusiastic member of the V+A family! I’m taking over Vitality+Awesomeness temporarily to share some insights on gut health that Daen helped me with during my travels in South America. Read more

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Why Swimming Got Me Back To The Gym And Exercising Again!

Vitality+Awesomeness Swimming B&W 1

The days are long gone when the gym was my enemy. Thinking that you have to look fit to go to the gym is passed me. Yet I used to think that I had nothing to do in there for that simple reason. Too skinny, lack of fitness knowledge, inexperienced, uncoordinated, all these reasons really put me off going to the gym and potentially exercising. And aren’t you a bit reluctant to go to the change rooms? Do you find them impractical and not making you feel great about yourself? All that led me to exercise less, on and off and miss out on great and long term health benefits.

Once you realise why you need the gym and fitness in your life and what exercising brings to your health in general, you start thinking of ways you could make it work for you. Although I would love to be bigger with wide shoulders and great muscly legs, I probably won’t get to that. However, by exercising I get to feel much better physically and mentally. And I can still see great results in my overall body and mental health.

Finding your fitness go-to

Summer 2016 really helped me get back to exercising, starting with morning runs. However, I knew I had to exercise more. Both my parents had been professional swimmers when they were in their early twenties. Raised in the south of France, we would spend most of our summer days in the water at the beach. In winter, my mum would take us swimming in the evening, where we would try all the possible swimming styles.
When visiting my dad during school holidays, we would go swimming at least 3 times a week and he would always make a point of correcting our swimming techniques, whether we were swimming breaststroke or freestyle or giving butterfly a go.

What’s your style

In my early years I first got to love breaststroke as it looked easy and didn’t require to have my head under the water. Wanting to learn something else and push the boundaries a bit, my dad taught me the insides and tricks of freestyle. Freestyle does require some knowledge on how your legs should kick, how your hands and arms must go in the water and how you should breathe, which to me is the most important part of this exercise.

Don’t make excuses

So here I am, 33 years old, back in cold London and trying to keep active and healthy. The dilemma for me is that I have to wear contact lenses in order to swim properly, which distracted me from going for a while. As Daen is a PT and Nutritionist at Nuffield Health in Shoreditch, I saw a great opportunity to give that pool a try. There are many great gyms and health centres in London where you can go for a great swim. From Nuffield Health centres to Outdoor London Fields Lido or Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, offering you four different pools in south London, you really are spoilt for choice in London.

My swimming routine

Firstly I tryied to remember what I had been taught as a youngster. I love breaststroke, as it’s a great warm up! I tend to do about 4 laps of breaststroke before I move on to freestyle. Once I start freestyling, I try and swim as many laps of the 25 metre pool as I can. Backstroke is a great alternative, when I start slowing down or need to mix it up a bit. It works well for your back. It’s also a great option if you’re out of breath but don’t want to stop. After swimming frequently, you can really start seeing your endurance build, your muscle strength increase, and your cardiovascular fitness improve.

Swimming will impact on your fitness

The best thing about swimming is that I got to use the actual gym facilities and exercise again. Between fitness programs, circuits and trying other things like squats I feel like swimming reconnected me with exercising, yet gives me that healthy and full alternative workout! A swimming workout will help you clear your head and prepare for the day.